A day after receiving a pre-World Cup pep talk from Prime Minister Imran Khan, members of the national cricket team gushed about the experience, and vowed to do their best in the big tournament that starts May 30 in England.
“The meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan has raised our spirits,” said all-rounder Imad Wasim during the team’s interaction with media personnel in Lahore.
The young Shaheen Shah Afridi admitted that “I was nervous during our meeting with the prime minister” but also acknowledged that “the meeting has also boosted my morale.”
Opener Imamul Haq said that “it was an honour meeting Imran Khan,” whereas veteran Shoaib Malik described Imran Khan as a “role model”, adding that “he gave tips to players on how to win.”
Fakhar Zaman, meanwhile, said that “Imran Khan told us how to fight your hardest during the match.”
The players also talked about their preparations for the big tournament, for which the national selectors announced a 15-man squad earlier this week.
Wasim, who had been battling a knee injury, gave an update on his fitness. saying: “I am completely fit but I am working even more on my fitness.”
He appeared to downplay the importance of the match against India, stressing that he has eyes on the big prize. “We’re going not just to win against India but win the whole thing.”
Wasim did admit that “there is a dearth of all-rounders like Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq,” adding that “cricketers like those only come a few times in every generation.”
Shaheen rejected lofty comparisons with Wasim Akram but said that “of course I would want to replicate his 1992 performance and play a part in the team’s success.”
Shadab Khan disclosed his plans to “emerge as the best all-rounder of the tournament, which is why I am concentration on my batting as well.”
“We are capable of defeating any team,” the confident leg-spin starlet said.
Malik said that “this will be my last World Cup and I want Pakistan to win it.”
He expressed confidence in the team, saying that “there is a fantastic combination of young and senior players.”
Malik, too, downplayed the importance of the India encounter, saying: “The match against India will be like any other match but of course it is true that there will be pressure on everyone in the World Cup.”
Inzamamul Haq played a massive role in 1992. It is not right to compare me with him but I’ll try and do my best for the team.
I will try and treat the India match like any other match.
I want to repeat my Champions Trophy performance at the World Cup. But of course the World Cup is an even bigger event.
The rest I got during the Australia series has helped me. During this time I worked on my flaws. You will now see a different Fakhar Zaman.
I am grateful to God that I was selected. Now I will try and give my 100 per cent. I learned a lot in the series against Australia.